Swindlers and street fighters, love, hate and community

Rio de Janeiro at the end of the 19th century: a city of slums and palaces, street gangs and tycoons, magic charms and outlawed martial arts. Cunning, bohemian and streetwise, the malandro walks its streets without fear – because there’s always a way out.

Malandros is based on the award-winning DramaSystem rules engine. It’s a game of personal struggles and interpersonal dramas.

You play characters in a tight-knit community caught up in tumultuous times: gang leaders, captains of industry, fishermen, martial artists, swindlers and more. You all know each other – you’re family, friends, rivals or enemies, all living in the same part of town. You all want something from each other. Maybe it’s respect, maybe it’s love. Maybe it’s fear, or something else. 

Will you get what you want? That’s what we’re here to find out.

The text of Malandros is available free under a Creative Commons licence. 
Click here to read the game in plain text.

Click the links below to order a copy in the format of your choice.

If you buy a printed book, please get in touch and I’ll send you a free copy of the PDF to go with it – make sure to uncheck the “add PDF” option on the ordering page.


“The most singular and romantic RPG in my collection.” – Tun Kai Poh

Malandros does for Hillfolk what Urban Shadows does for Apocalypse World (and what second-gen OSR games like the Black Hack do for BECMI D&D). It’s a second generation spin on a foundation text, clarifying and retooling [an] innovative system into something more accessible and functional, but also a conscious deviation. Malandros is something special, and if you’re a tablet reader the PDF is a bargain.” – Ralph Lovegrove, Department V

“An exciting narrative game set in a city of colour and culture. Malandros is an excellent example of a roleplaying game dedicated to dramatic interactions. Everything in the book, text, layout, artwork and rules supports this goal. Worth buying just to look at.” – Jaye Foster, 6d6 Blog

“Tom McGrenery did some splendid work on this game. It’s a rare gem, regarding its historical setting and flavor.”
– Josephe Vandel, Mapforge

“O período histórico e seus ricos personagens são explorados de maneira magistral.” (“The historical period and its rich personalities are explored in a masterful manner.”) – André Cruz, O Velhinho do RPG


A ready-made neighbourhood for your Malandros game. 

São Roque is a fictional district in Rio de Janeiro where rich and poor live side by side. The PDF includes 12 major characters and details their often fractious relationships with the other eleven, with stats to use them as PCs in Malandros

Also included are a cast of supporting NPCs, 24 story seeds and a brief guide to 19th century Brazilian gangster slang.


Malandros setting supplement by Mark Galeotti

In 1991 the Soviet Union collapsed, and everything was up for grabs. In the industrial city of Krasnoyarsk, while the big beasts of the new gangster-businessman world fight it out for control of the local aluminium industry, corrupt cops, ambitious politicians, hustlers, thugs, and even a few idealists struggle to thrive and survive in a new Russia without rules, rhyme or reason.

 This 25-page PDF supplement contains:

  • All the information and background colour you need to run a Malandros game set in 1990s Krasnoyarsk
  • 14 character types specially created for the setting
  • New Signature Moves: Politics and Sambo (the Red Army’s martial art)

The Sydney Razor Gangs

June 1928. East Sydney has another name: Razorhurst.

The districts of Darlinghurst, King’s Cross, Woolloomooloo and Surry Hills are a warren of sprawling slums and ramshackle, rat-infested terraces, home to violent criminals, whores, alcoholics, drug addicts and anyone too poor to move somewhere nicer. It’s a place where you can indulge all your vices. 

Two ruthless women, Kate Leigh and Tilly Devine, stand at the centre of this underworld, leading rival gangs in a ferocious feud. 

The Sydney Razor Gangs contains 26 pages of antipodean villainy, including new rules, new character types, setting material and 6 real-life figures of the Razorhurst underworld for use as quickstart Player Characters. 

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